Realistic, supportive learning for nursing students

By Laura Richeson

Seminole State College of Florida and AdventHealth launched a new partnership that will allow eight senior nursing students to participate in a hands-on Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) program.

The novel DEU at AdventHealth Winter Park was launched this fall semester out of a growing partnership between AdventHealth and Seminole State College School of Nursing and the need to stem the nursing shortage. The goal for this project is to provide a realistic and supportive clinical learning environment for senior nursing students while also recruiting and preparing skilled nurses ready for practice.

“Partnerships are essential in creating a nursing pipeline and meeting the needs of the community,” said Nancy Gasper, dean of nursing at Seminole State College. “Our dedicated and talented faculty are educating some of the best and brightest nursing students in Central Florida. This partnership with AdventHealth, which complements our classroom and simulation training, is creating opportunities for our students to learn some of the real-world skills they need to quickly transition into their careers caring for the patients in our community who need it most.”

During the DEU experience, each student is paired with an AdventHealth preceptor nurse, and once a week for eight weeks, is able to observe and practice skills that they’ve only heard about in lectures or seen in textbooks or experienced through simulations. Most nursing students get the opportunity to work on a hospital floor while they’re in school, but not always in a one-on-one setting.

“Having a Dedicated Education Unit on our campus not only better prepares future nurses for a career in health care, but also gives our current team members the chance to pass their sage wisdom on to the next generation of nurses,” said Nicole Ayoub, chief nursing officer at AdventHealth Winter Park. “Who better to coach these student-nurses than those on the frontlines.”

Students work on a 40-bed medical telemetry and orthopedic unit that specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal system disorders. This type of nursing focuses on providing care for adults who are either preparing for or recovering from surgery.

“Caring for real patients on a hospital floor for the first time can be a daunting experience. But having an experienced nurse next to you – it helps students build confidence and learn in a safe way,” said Amanda Zachar, one of the AdventHealth Winter Park nurse preceptors. “It has been an awesome experience seeing these students connect with the patients for the first time, and I’m so glad to be a part of this opportunity.”

Student Spotlight 

Kelly Andrews is a non-traditional student at Seminole State College. She launched her first career in elementary education and returned to higher education in 2021 to pursue a degree and career in nursing.

Andrews has an affinity for helping others and is dedicated to having a direct, positive impact while educating patients, setting up patients for success at home and providing a well-rounded explanation of healthcare and wellness. She is on track to graduate in December 2022 with hopes to stay on with AdventHealth in the orthopedic or progressive care units, then onto wound care with the ultimate goal of becoming a nurse educator.

“The DEU provides nursing students with direct experience including dispensing medications, monitoring and education for all patients on the unit side-by-side with an experienced preceptor providing teachable moments and real-world knowledge,” Andrews said.

“You can really do anything you set your mind to. It’s never too late to change careers. Focus on school to make career moves that fit your passion,” she continues.

Seminole State is actively engaged with several local medical centers and practices, education institutions, business leaders and healthcare executives to expand nursing program opportunities and increase the number of students enrolled.

This article was originally published here.


Laura Richeson

is a contributing writer for Seminole State College of Florida.